Eat your hearts out
By Saarah Surve
I sat in the audience eagerly awaiting the start of a production that I’d heard many fantastical things about.
Kardiavale, presented by a Conspiracy of Clowns and directed by Emilie Starke engages with the audience to bring alive the creepy, yet captivating ‘cabaret of death’.
‘Kardia’ is the Greek word for heart and ‘vale’ is part of the word carnival.
I felt that attending the workshop the Conspiracy… of Clowning before I saw the production helped prepare me for what was to come and gave me a greater insight into ‘Cabaret Clown Noir’ – the genre used in Kardiavale.
The production tells a tale of how vulnerable and exposed the heart is when in love.
This is literal in the case of Onni (Liezl de Kock), a young girl born with a rare heart condition, called ectopia cordis where the heart is exposed on the outside of the chest.
Onni falls in love with Oskar (Rob Murray), a cruel show master who runs a freak show and whose sole concern is to make money through exploiting people’s oddities.
Naturally, the two find each other and fulfil Onni’s need to be loved and Oskar’s craving for money.
Starke says that her inspiration for the production came when she saw a story on the news about a baby born with ectopia cordis.
Most babies with the condition die within the first few days of being born so Starke thought it was a viable context for a story about a girl who falls in love.
Other inspirations were the renowned director, Tim Burton, and the Tiger Lillies, a band known for their darkly humorous style.
‘Cabaret Clown Noir’ is a style of theatre that is tragic and cruel; but ironically, the audience finds hilarity in its cruelty.
Which brings about the question of how fine the line between hilarity and cruelty actually is.
Most clowns aim to break the invisible fourth wall between them and the audience through engagement and participation.
I felt that this was done effectively in Kardiavale, as we were the audience watching a freak show.
If you’re looking for a love story with a twist, then Kardiavale is for you.
A heart-felt performance
By Ethan Chetty
Kardiavale is a marvellous, devilishly and morbid work of art presented by A Conspiracy Of Clowns, starring Rob Murray and Liezl de Kock.
The story entails a struggling circus freakshow owner Oskar (Murray), who stumbles across Onni (de Kock) and sees her as his train to fame.
Why Onni She has a rare disorder in which her heart lies outside of her chest.
In Oskar’s journey fame and riches, Onni herself goes on a journey to find acceptance and love.
The director,Emilie Starke had a great vision and along with the actors’ passion made the production something to remember.
I thought that the lighting was used well to covey the emotions of the events happening at the time.
The lyrics have meaning and make you think about it after you have left the auditorium.
The make-up was another thing that added to the visualisation and embodiment of the characters.
However, of the elements, what impressed me most was the originality of the concept and the novel presentation of it.
The play seems to comment on people who wear their heart on their sleeve and how vulnerable they are.
It speaks of betrayal, love, money and whatever each audience member can take away.
It was a special experience walking in, sitting down and not knowing what to expect as the lights dimmed.
We waited a while.
When the actors came on stage, my surprise and deep appreciation flourished to see a rare event of a convincing macabre show with so much meaning.
The symbolism meant something deep to me and one must always beware of being too innocent and too gullible.
This is a show with a message that can be applied in the real world, and aesthetic enough to be watched many times over.
It was a heart-felt performance.
Open hearts and opened minds
By Storme Magee, Edgemead High School, Cape Town
Kardiavale is a very gripping and comical story of a woman that was born with her heart outside her chest.
The story hits many hearts as it takes the audience on her life journey and struggle for acceptance. It shows what happens when you wear your heart on your sleeve- or literally on your chest in this case- and how the world takes advantage of pure innocence.
With excellent performances from Rob Murry and Liezl de Kock, the show explores many genres of drama including clowning and cabaret to tell the story and keeps you fascinated by its dark comical side.
The contrast of the two characters will have you laughing and crying at the same time. The close integration of comedy and tragedy is one of the elements of this productions success and positive response from the audience.
Even though the ending of the show is very clear and the message of the play is carried across, the show does give room for the audience to make their own deductions. This was a common trait found in nearly all the shows featured at the festival this year. Each show had its own message but still left room for the audience’s own interpretations – some more than others. It allowed the audience to create their own story in the mind as they watched the play. This allowed for more acceptance from the audience for each genre of drama featured at the festival and in the end resulted in an appreciation of a variety of different genres.